Can we stop eating our young?….Registered Nurse

I have been at work as a RN for approximately 3 years. Coming from a family of many RN’s I went into Nursing school relatively knowing it would be hell on earth. I excelled and graduated and went right to work on a Post Partum floor. Needless to say, after a few weeks on orientation (if you can even call it that) I was left alone in the nursery with 25 babies and no preceptor when a father asked me to pull something out of his baby’s mouth. I looked in the mouth and I saw something white, I did not know what it was. I was concerned about airway and I fished it out, notifying the MD and my preceptor immediately after.

Well, my preceptor went to the Nurse Manager and they fired me on the spot. Apparently, the white object was a premature tooth and I had PULLED IT OUT!!!! I was mortified. I had my RN license for less than a month, had studied at a top 5 school for nursing and had lost my job in days of passing the NCLEX. I lost a lot of confidence afterward and I felt so stupid. My intention had been good, but I was stupid and inexperienced and above all, really scared. Why had I been left alone with all those babies- I am not even a mother!

I came to realize that while I may have made a mistake, I was set up to fail by administration and my preceptor. I have come to realize the importance of speaking up when you don’t know what to do. More importantly though, as a preceptor now, I do my best to hold my new RN’s hand and lead them through their first few months- and I DON’T EVER LEAVE THEM ALONE!!! New RN’s are the future of nursing and so many are leaving discouraged because older RN’s are so mean, disheartended by their years on the job and stone cold. They are getting less than adequate orientations and being thrown into the fish tank long before they can swim. I know we all learned the saying ”

Nurses eat their young” but don’t you think we should change our image? We want to be seen as health care professionals but we are no better than the low down dog MD’s that we too often come in contact with- the ones that eat us for breakfast when they are having a bad day- or belittle us in front of a patient- just because they can. I still think back on that story and I shudder- I feel stupid and ashamed. But then I look at my successes over the last 2 1/2 years and I am thriving as an RN. I can do this job, I just needed a mentor who would tell me I could. Remember RN’s- new nurses learned just enough in nursing school to survive- they need our help to thrive.  We don’t want new nurses to have to look at job growth trends to be able to hold down a secure RN position.